Teens drinking and driving: study

By Leila Samodien Time of article published Jan 8, 2011

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Teenage drinking and driving is out of control, with many young drivers admitting in a survey to having driven drunk.

The recent survey was conducted by Stay Alert Stay Alive.

It found that many young people not only drove vehicles after drinking, but even drank while they were driving.

Stay Alert Stay Alive road safety analyst Lawrence Barit said that since they were relatively inexperienced drivers, teenagers were easily susceptible to fatal accidents while driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs.

“It’s amazing how many young people admit to it,” he said.

And with exam results recently released - particularly matric results - he warned that young people should drive responsibly.

As part of the survey, Barit carried out a focus group, establishing that their driving abilities and performances deteriorated significantly.

The group included 10 teenage volunteers from Joburg and Pretoria, aged between 17 and 21.

They were given scientifically-made goggles, which created the illusion of being intoxicated – the higher the blood alcohol limit, the more blurred the goggles were.

Transport and Public Works MEC Robin Carlisle said that in the Western Cape, it was mostly young men who were responsible for fatal accidents.

More than 50 percent of all road deaths involved alcohol, and 60 percent of the perpetrators were between the ages of 18 to 35. Women were only responsible for 4 to 6 percent of fatal crashes.

The department had been speaking to nightclub owners to encourage the use alternative means of transport, such as taxis, when they had been drinking.

“On one hand, we want to be very stringent when it comes to consequences, but on the other, we want to make options available to them,” Carlisle said. - Saturday Star

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